Friday, Jul. 19, 2002


The precious fossil of a feathered Dromaeosaur — "Fuzzy Raptor" — is carefully handled by museum conservators. "Fuzzy Raptor" and 12 other unique "dino-bird" fossils from Beijing's Geological Museum of China are making their first visit to Europe. Until May 5, 2003, visitors to London's Natural History Museum can see the first exhibition of the Early Cretaceous fossils presented in a way that traces the evolutionary origins of birds. Beginning with a Late Jurassic treasure from the museum's own collection — the Archaeopteryx lithographica, the most ancient bird known to science — the exhibition takes visitors through the arguments and the evidence confirming that today's birds are indeed descendants of a group of small predatory dinosaurs that, rather than dying out (like the much bigger and mightier Tyrannosaurus rex), evolved feathers and then the ability to fly.